H. B. 4655
(By Delegates M. Poling and Paxton)
(Originating in the House Committee on Education.)
[February 24, 2012]
A BILL to amend and reenact §18A-4-8e of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to school service personnel certification; modifying the conditions for issuance and revocation of certain certification; and specifying authority of county board regarding issues not related to certification.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §18A-4-8e of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 4. SALARIES, WAGES AND OTHER BENEFITS.
§18A-4-8e. Competency testing for service personnel; and recertification testing for bus operators.
(a) The State Board of Education shall develop and make available competency tests for all of the classification titles defined in section eight of this article and listed in section eight-a of this article for service personnel. Each classification title defined and listed is considered a separate classification category of employment for service personnel and has a separate competency test, except for those class titles having Roman numeral designations, which are considered a single classification of employment and have a single competency test.
(1) The cafeteria manager class title is included in the same classification category as cooks and has the same competency test.
(2) The executive secretary class title is included in the same classification category as secretaries and has the same competency test.
(3) The classification titles of chief mechanic, mechanic and assistant mechanic are included in one classification title and have the same competency test.
(b) The purpose of these tests is to provide county boards a uniform means of determining whether school service personnel who do not hold a classification title in a particular category of employment meet the definition of the classification title in another category of employment as defined in section eight of this article. Competency tests may not be used to evaluate employees who hold the classification title in the category of their employment.
(c) The competency test consists of an objective written or performance test, or both. Applicants may take the written test orally if requested. Oral tests are recorded mechanically and kept on file. The oral test is administered by persons who do not know the applicant personally.
(1) The performance test for all classifications and categories other than bus operator is administered by an employee of the county board or an employee of a multicounty vocational school that serves the county at a location designated by the superintendent and approved by the board. The location may be a vocational school that serves the county.
(2) A standard passing score is established by the state Department of Education for each test and is used by county boards.
(3) The subject matter of each competency test is commensurate with the requirements of the definitions of the classification titles as provided in section eight of this article. The subject matter of each competency test is designed in such a manner that achieving a passing grade does not require knowledge and skill in excess of the requirements of the definitions of the classification titles. Achieving a passing score conclusively demonstrates the qualification of an applicant for a classification title.
(4) Once an employee passes the competency test of a classification title, the applicant is fully qualified to fill vacancies in that classification category of employment as provided in section eight-b of this article and may not be required to take the competency test again.
(d) An applicant who fails to achieve a passing score is given other opportunities to pass the competency test when making application applying for another vacancy within the classification category.
(e) Competency tests are administered to applicants in a uniform manner under uniform testing conditions. County boards are responsible for scheduling competency tests, notifying applicants of the date and time of the one day of training prior to taking the test, and the date and time of the test. County boards may not use a competency test other than the test authorized by this section.
(f) When scheduling of the competency test conflicts with the work schedule of a school employee who has applied for a vacancy, the employee is excused from work to take the competency test without loss of pay.
(g) A minimum of one day of appropriate in-service training is provided to employees to assist them in preparing to take the competency tests.
(h) Competency tests are used to determine the qualification of new applicants seeking initial employment in a particular classification title as either a regular or substitute employee.
(i) Notwithstanding any provisions in this code to the contrary, once an employee holds or has held a classification title in a category of employment, that employee is considered qualified for the classification title even though that employee no longer holds that classification.
(j) The requirements of this section do not alter the definitions of class titles as provided in section eight of this article or the procedure and requirements of section eight-b of this article.
(k) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary and notwithstanding any rules of the School Board concerning school bus operator certification, in effect on the effective date of this section the certification test for school bus operators shall be required as follows, and school bus operators shall may not be required to take the certification test more frequently:
(1) For substitute school bus operators and for school bus operators with regular employee status but on a probationary contract, the certification test shall be administered annually;
(2) For school bus operators with regular employee status and continuing contract status, the certification test shall be administered triennially; and
(3) For substitute school bus operators who are retired from a county board and who at the time of retirement had ten years of experience as a regular full-time bus operator, the certification test shall be administered triennially.
(4) A school bus operator certificate shall be issued to a person who has completed the required training, has passed the appropriate competency test, and meets the physical requirements to operate a school bus pursuant to State Board rule. The authority of the State Board to issue, deny or revoke the certification is limited to the questions of whether the applicant has completed the appropriate training, has passed the appropriate competency test and possesses the physical ability to operate a school bus. The State Board may revoke certification or refuse certification to an individual who has met all certification criteria only for conviction of a felony or revocation of a commercial driver’s license.
(5) Resolution of any issue concerning conduct, before or after employment and on or off duty, is reserved to the authority of the county board which seeks to employ or continue the employment of an individual as a school bus operator.
(6) The State Board shall promulgate in accordance with article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, revised rules in compliance with this subsection.